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Last month the Center for Biological Diversity (CBD) filed an appeal in the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals challenging the management of the Dunes on three primary grounds:
- The Fish & Wildlife Service (FWS) and Bureau of Land Management (BLM) violated the Endangered Species Act (ESA) by issuing and relying upon a flawed biological opinion for the threatened Peirson's Milk-vetch, a plant that occurs nowhere else in the US other than the Dunes.
- BLM violated the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) by failing to address the wilderness qualities of the lands to be opened to ORVs.
- BLM violated the Clean Air Act and other laws by vastly underestimating the air pollution impacts from its management-primarily dust kicked up by ORVs tires. The Dunes are in an area declared in serious non-attainment for particulate pollution already, and BLM's management of the Dunes contributes significantly to this problem. The District Court upheld defendants' actions on each of these claims. The Court ruled in Plaintiffs' favor on claim related to FWS's failure to issue a recovery plan for the Peirson's Milk-vetch.
The court calendar states that we have until September 8, 2014 to file our answering brief. In the meantime, the CBD is considering a motion for an injunction pending the appeal or a motion to expedite this appeal because of the impending ORV season.
The aSa is working on this issue through our attorney and our EcoLogic Partners. In the meantime, the old closure stakes are still being removed and the new stakes for the Critical Habitat area are being installed.